What Does All That Conveyancing Jargon Mean?

Paul Hajek | 9 May 2017


Jargon.conveyancing jargon

It’s everywhere.

And, conveyancing jargon is no different.

Some Conveyancing Solicitors promise to speak to you in Plain English, other Conveyancers may prefer to wallow in the comfort of the odd “hereinbefore” and “aforesaid mentioned”

As they used to say on TV “and now for viewers at home only” we give you a simple and straight-forward guide to innoculate you against any Conveyancing Jargon you encounter when you move house.

Welcome to Chapter 9 of our Series, your Conveyancing Questions Answered All in One Place – The Conveyancing Jargon Buster

Conveyancing Jargon Buster

Agreement: Another word for the Contract of Sale.

Auction Sale: This is where a property is bought at an auction. All information is made available prior to the Auction. Contracts are exchanged (see Exchange of Contracts below) once the Auctioneer’s gavel hits the desk.

Bankruptcy Search: A search made prior to Completion of a Purchase to check whether a buyer or a borrower has been, is, or is about to be declared bankrupt.

Boundaries: The boundaries define the extent of the property and are usually marked out on the ground by fencing or hedging. Boundaries are also often although not always shown on the deeds plans.

Bridging Loan: This is a loan taken out to “bridge” the gap whilst waiting for the sale of a property or the receipt of a mortgage. Very rare since the Financial crisis of 2008.

Buildings Insurance: Insurance taken out by the owner of the property to insure the property against risks such as fire, landslip etc. The responsibility to insure the property often passes to the buyer on exchange of contracts.

Buyer: This is the person that is buying the Property, who, in the old days would have been described as the Purchaser.

Buy To Let: This is where a buyer buys a property with the intention of letting it out on a commercial basis. There are usually mortgages specific to this type of purchase known as Buy to Let mortgages.

Caveat Emptor: Only bit of Latin, we promise: “Let the Buyer Beware”. A buyer must satisfy himself that the property has no legal or other defects before committing to buy.

Chain: Linked property transactions. The beginning of a chain usually starts with a first-time buyer or a buyer with nothing to sell and the end of the chain usually ends with a seller who is buying a brand new home or who is not buying another property.

Chancel Repair Liability: an ancient law which can require certain homeowners to pay for the repair of the chancel (the part of the church containing the altar and the choir) of a local parish church. (More on this later in the series).

Client Care Letter: Your agreement with your Conveyancing Solicitor, detailing how much you will pay, how you can expect to be treated and what to do if you have any problems or complaints.

Coal Mining Search: A search to identify whether a property is over or close to disused mine shafts or located in an area with previous historic coal mining which may affect the property.

Completion: The legal formality of paying over the balance of purchase monies in return for a signed Transfer Deed and keys to the property.

Completion Date: The moving date when the balance of purchase monies are transferred and the Seller is contractually bound to move out and release the keys to the Buyer.

Completion Statement: This is the final account that the conveyancer will send detail all fees and third party payments and either requesting the balance due or showing the balance payable to you on completion.

Conservation Area: This is an area protected by the Local authority. Properties in a Conservation area may be subject to planning restrictions particularly relating to the exterior of the property.

Contract for Sale: A legal document which sets out the terms of the sale and purchase of the property.

Contract Rate: A penalty rate of interest payable by either the seller or the buyer if the Conveyancing transaction does proceed on the Completion Date.

Conveyancing: Conveyancing is the legal description for the work that is done to transfer ownership of a property from one person to another.

Conveyancing Calculator: Online tool for budgeting for your legal fees when you move.

Covenant: A legal obligation or restriction affecting a property.

Defective Title Insurance: An insurance policy taken out to protect the Buyer’s against issues discovered during the Conveyancing transaction, such as missing, destroyed, lost, none or simply inadequate documents.

Deposit: A sum of money usually 10% of the Purchase Price paid the buyer to the Seller’s solicitor on exchange of contract. Non-refundable if the Buyer does not proceed on completion day.

Disbursements: Payments made by your Conveyancing Solicitors to Third Parties but payable by you.

Drainage/Water Search: This is a search carried out by the conveyancer for the purchaser to check whether the property is connected to mains water and drainage and whether there are any other issues relating to drainage/water affecting the property.

Easement: A right benefiting one property over another such as a right of way.

Environmental Search: This is a search that the conveyancer carries out to check whether there are any environmental issues affecting a property. These may include matters such as flooding, coal mining and landfill.

Equity: The equity in a property is the value that is left after you take the current worth of the property and deduct any mortgages outstanding on the property.

Exchange of Contracts: Literally, the exchange of a signed contract by the Seller and the Buyer confirming a legally binding contract to buy and sell a property.

Fixtures Fittings and Contents Form: What the Seller has agreed to sell to the Buyer either be included in the sale price or in addition. This form is completed by the Seller early in the Conveyancing process.

Freehold: Absolute Ownership as opposed to Leasehold which is time restricted. Freehold land can have benefits of rights and be subject to covenants

Gazumping: Where a Seller refuses to authorise his Conveyancing Solicitor to exchange contracts on the basis that a newer and higher offer for the property has been received.

Gazundering: Where a Buyer decides to reduce his offer at the last minute, pressurising Seller to accept lower offer or risk sale falling through.

Ground Rent: Yearly rent paid to the Landlord on a Leasehold property for the duration of the Lease. The Rent can be a few pounds or hundreds of pounds. The Rent can increase depending on the terms of the lease.

Joint Tenants: Where two or more persons buy a property they are called joint tenants or tenants in common whether the property is freehold or leasehold. Where property is held as a joint tenancy if one owner dies the property automatically passes to the other owner. If the property is held as Tenants in Common each buyer owns their own share of the property which can only be passed on by sale or by a Will.

Land Registry: HM Land Registry is the Government office charged with authenticating sales of property and transferring the property into the Buyers name. The Land Registry holds the records of all property in the United Kingdom. All purchases must be registered at the Land Registry for which a fee is payable.

Landlord/Lessor: A Landlord is the owner of the freehold reversion (i.e. after the Lease ends) of a leasehold property. The Landlord receives Rent on a leasehold property and has the right to enforce the terms of the Lease.

Lease: A lease is a complicated document which details the matters affecting a leasehold property. Typically these will include the length of the lease, rent, service charges, rights of way, water, drainage and access and it will usually incorporate a plan.

Leasehold: Leasehold is the other means by which property can be held (the other is freehold). Flats are leasehold, although houses can also be held on Leases. At the end of the Lease the property reverts to the Freeholder.

Lender: The Bank or Building Society who lend money to property owners, sometimes also known as the Mortgagee.

Listed Buildings: Properties that are listed are subject to planning restrictions.

Local Search: Answers given by a Local Authority from their data and records to a list of standard questions about a property including, for example, financial charges, highways and planning history.

Mortgage: Literally, “death pledge”, but now a deed secured on a property to ensure payment to the Lender.

Mortgage Deed: This is the document the borrower signs to agree to the terms set out in the Mortgage Offer. This document is sent to the Land Registry who register the Mortgage as a Financial Charge on the property which is shown in the Charges Register.

Mortgage Offer: A written offer to lend money on a property. The Mortgage Offer will contain all the terms of the Loan and the conditions upon which the money is loaned.

Mortgage Valuation Fee: The fee paid by a borrower so the Lender can value the property valued for mortgage purposes. The Mortgage Valuer will not necessarily inspect the physical condition of the property

New Build: Where a property is being purchased for the first time from the Builder or Developer.

Off Plan: Where a property is being bought at the planning stage and is yet to be built.

Official Copies: Official copies of registered title to a property from the Land Registry. Official copies are handed over to the Buyer’s Solicitors early in the Conveyancing process.

Property Information Form (PIF): A questionnaire in standard form completed by the seller giving information about the property.

Redemption Figure: The repayment of an existing mortgage on a property.

Registered Land: Property (freehold and leasehold) where proof of ownership and matters affecting the property have been authenticated (registered) by the Government Department known as the Land Registry.

Restrictive Covenants: These are obligations/restrictions that are attached to the property.

Seller: This is the person selling the property in the old days called the Vendor.

Shared Ownership Property: This is where a property has been bought jointly with the Council or a Housing Association.

Solicitors Costs: Strange lot, we solicitors, it actually refers to the Solicitors’ fees payable for the Conveyancing transaction.

Stamp Duty: Stamp Duty Land Tax, a punitive tax paid by the Buyer to the Government on the purchase of a Property. Boo!

Survey: An independent report carried out on a property for the Buyer detailing any defects, which may include a valuation of the property.

Telegraphic Transfer Fee: This is a bank charge for sending money from bank to Bank via the CHAPS system (i.e. secure same day transfer)

Tenants in Common: See Joint Tenants above.

Transfer Deed: A legal document transferring the property from the Seller to the Buyer. Used instead of a Conveyance nowadays.

Unregistered Land: Property (freehold and leasehold) not yet registered at the Land Registry where proof of ownership and matters affecting the property will be determined by inspection of the Title Deeds.

Valuation: If you take out a mortgage, the Lender verifies the price is a fair market value. Not to be confused with a Survey.

Vendor and Purchaser: A bit old fashioned now, we prefer Seller and Buyer nowadays.                                

Wayleave: A right of way through or over a piece of land often for a particular purpose, such as for a pipeline to go through a piece of land or for goods to be carried over it.

No X, Y or Z you may be relieved to know.

Your Conveyancing Questions Answered – All In One Place



Keeping you up to date

Sign up and receive free resources and news straight to your inbox

Get Ship Shape!
Start Your Journey Now

Whatever stage of your Conveyancing journey you are on, we will guide you safely to your destination.